FINDING FAITH IN OURSELVES AND SOMETHING BIGGER

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

THE HUNDRED STORY HOME
A Memoir of finding faith in ourselves
and something bigger
By Kathy Izard

OVERVIEW: In The Hundred Story Home, Kathy Izard invites us to live out our own stories more fully. She wrote The Hundred Story Home not to convince you to solve homelessness in your community but to help you solve the homelessness in you. This beautiful memoir reminds us that not only can we help change the world, but in doing so we change ourselves. Following an insistent whisper, Kathy quit her job as a graphic designer and began to do what seemed unimaginable: build a home for Charlotte's homeless. Kathy was a mother of four, in the second half of her life, and the task didn't make any sense, yet it proved to be her first step in finding her way home.

AUTHOR: Kathy Izard was an award-winning graphic designer for twenty years in Charlotte before launching the pilot program Homeless to Home for the Urban Ministry Center in 2007. She successfully demonstrated this Housing First program could succeed and led the city-wide effort to build Moore Place, Charlotte's first permanent supportive housing for more than one hundred chronically homeless men and women. For more information, please visit KathyIzard.com.

MY REVIEW: If you have a heart for the plight of the chronically homeless, this is  a book you will want to read. If you know, are related to or feel deeply concerned about someone with bipolar disorder, you will be interested in this book. Most of all, this book will help you find faith, strengthen your faith, find faith in yourself or something bigger.

I was immediately interested and drawn into this book when I discovered what it was about. As a minister for over forty-seven years I knew that Jesus had a heart for the homeless and so did I. I just never knew what to do about it. I still don't know how to handle the homeless situation in my own city of Phoenix. But I now know more than I did before reading this book. I was also drawn in because like Kathy's mother, who was mentally ill, I have a niece who I love dearly that has a bipolar disorder.

I agree with author Courtney Westlake who said, "Compelling and convicting, The Hundred Story Home is a powerful testament to the way one person can affect transformation at the deepest levels. Kathy's beautiful storytelling propelled me outside of my comfort zones...It's impossible to read The Hundred Story Home and walk away unchanged."

(I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

PRAYING THE PROMISES

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


PRAYING THE PROMISES
Anchor Your Life To Unshakable Hope
By Max Lucado & Andrea Lucado

OVERVIEW: In Praying the Promises, Max Lucado invites you into a deeper understanding of the peace and security God offers his people. Through thirty Bible promises, reflections on the lives of biblical people of faith, and guided prayers, you will see a clearer picture of the promise of God and how he is the rock you can build your life upon.

AUTHORS: Max Lucado has more than 130 products in print. He is America's bestselling inspirational author. He serves the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy. Andrea Lucado is a freelance author of English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith. She has a master's degree in English literature from Oxford-Brookes University and contributes regularly to online and print publications such as Relevant magazine and She Reads Truth.

MY REVIEW: Max Lucado's daughter, Andrea joins him in making this a special book. They believe that praying the promises of God will anchor your life to unshakable hope. They don't promise a money back guarantee but they could have because you won't being asking for one. It works!

This is a small, beautifully bound volume that you will want to always have close at hand. You will not want to part with this special book but you will purchase extra copies to give as gifts. The world is a mess. We need help. We need hope. "For every problem in life, God has given us a promise. We can find hope by praying those promises."

Praying The Promises has a brief introduction and then thirty promises from God. So needless to say, this is a book filled with Scripture. Thirty times a section begins with a Scripture that sets a theme. Then the Lucados write briefly about that theme. And that is followed by four promises of God. And the section closes with praying the promises. "Trouble comes but so does God."

(I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

ETERNITY IS NOW IN SESSION

Thursday, September 06, 2018

ETERNITY IS NOW IN SESSION
A Radical Rediscovery Of What Jesus
Really Taught About Salvation,
Eternity, And Getting To The Good Place
By John Ortberg

OVERVIEW:  In Eternity Is Now In Session, bestselling author John Ortberg + engages in a radical rediscovery of what the Bible really says about salvation, + recaptures the New Testament definitions of salvation, eternal life, and the Good News of the gospel, + dispels the myth that eternal life is something we can only hope to experience after we die, and + talks about what it really means to be a disciple. And most important, he explains how we can experience the unspeakably rich, interactive fellowship and joy that exist between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Eternal life—here, now, every minute of every day.

AUTHOR: John Ortberg is the senior pastor of Menlo Church in Northern California and the bestselling author of many books. He has a PhD in clinical psychology and an MDiv from Fuller theological Seminary. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Menlo Park, California, and have three grown children. You can follow John at www.johnortberg.com and on Twitter and Facebook @johnortberg.

MY REVIEW: John Ortberg is one of my favorite authors. He writes in a way that flows and is easy to understand while writing about extremely difficult topics. Of all his books my favorite is If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat. And now, Eternity Is Now In Session has logged in at second place.

This is an extremely important book because it deals with one of life's most important subjects—salvation. Ortberg says his book is a radical rediscovery of what Jesus really taught on this subject. And it is. At least for me it is. His opinion on what Jesus means when He talks about eternity is one that I think all of us need to listen to. I was helped by a quote in the book from Brenda Colijn who when talking about eternal life said, It is "primarily qualitative rather than quantitative." That is good. Very good!

This good book will help dispel the myth that eternal life is something we can only hope to experience after we die. We need this good news. Eternal life is now in session.

(I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

BIG ONE DAY BLOG SELL

Friday, August 17, 2018



I have been blogging for 13 years. Well, that's not exactly true. I have been a blogger for 13 years.

There was a time when I posted on my blog every day. Not so much anymore.

Almost all of my blogging friends have closed shop.

Many of us are spending more time on Face Book and less on blogging

In recent years most of my posts have been book reviews. However, that too is now in decline. At one time I was reviewing books for many different publishers. Most of them have stopped having book reviews and I am now down to only two.

This week I renewed my interest in posting to my blog and did three. How about that? Three in one week. I would be pleased if you turned aside and read them clif74blog.blogspot.com.

Many of my dearest friends who say they are interested in what I am thinking and doing have never even once looked at my blog.

Well, that's all I wanted to say about blogging.

Oh, what about the BIG ONE DAY BLOG SELL? That was just hopefully to get your attention.

IT WORKS FOR MACY'S.

BOB, BOB, BOBBING ALONG-----A Love For Fish And Fishing

Thursday, August 16, 2018



Some of my fondest childhood memories are of hours spent sitting on a grassy creek bank with a fishing pole in my hand. I loved to see the bright little bobber on the line start to move. It meant a bluegill was messing with the worm on the hook. Ah, the days of youth.

There was also much joy in moving up to the wily days of sneaking into ponds where I didn't belong and casting out a long trotline. Coming back hours later to find a catfish on almost every hook.

Deep sea fishing gave me thrills up my spine and sickness in my stomach. Sometimes fish. Sometimes nothing.

I love fish and other sea food. I have enjoyed it from near and far.

Journeying to Ethiopia to help with a famine, I found myself eating almost nothing but fish. I ate it in a beautiful hotel restaurant in down town Addis Ababa  when a respected Doctor suggested it from the menu. I ate it out in the bush, of all places, in a small restaurant that seemed to almost appear out of nowhere.

In India, I enjoyed one of the largest prawns I have ever seen. It was so large I used a knife and fork to cut it up and eat it. It will always be one of my favorite memories because a dear friend and missionary to India found such joy it buying it for me and watching me eat it.

I had a big smile on my face when I enjoyed fish and chips in London, England. I have always liked Long John Silvers and Red Lobster is a favorite. But my favorite of all time was in the lovely little town of Rockport in beautiful New England. Maybe it was because I was with my wife and daughter.
Come to think of it, maybe the joy in all of this----fishing and eating came/comes not from just the activity but from who I am/was with.

Ah yes. That's it. Who I'm with! So as I go bob, bob, bobbing along I hope to see YOU soon.



YOUNG, SEXY POOL BOY OR OLD, SHOT POOL MAN

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


The monsoons are going to finish off this old man.

Night after night they come. It looks like there is no end.

BUT I get the job done. Our pool is sparkling clean. It's gorgeous.

NOW, would one of those young, sexy, pool boys do a better job?

I don't think so.

Would Charlotte like to see him running around in our back yard?

Probably.

She might fib and say, "Why no, I rather see you stumbling around out there."

We all know the truth. She's in her eighties now but hey, those "Old" eighties
gals are not dead.

Truth is she can't afford him. She's stuck with the old, shot pool man----me.

Pool looks good. It's gorgeous.

THE BUCKET LIST OBSESSION

Tuesday, August 14, 2018



Bucket list. I don't have one. Don't want one. Don't need one.

It's not that I have done it all. I haven't. 

But I have done a lot. I have ridden a camel up to the pyramids and walked inside. I have seen the Taj Mahal. 

I have done some big things. I have sat at the Captain's table for dinner on a Greek ship as we sailed the Mediterranean. I have been on the Island of Patmos where John wrote the book of Revelation. I have led the communion service of the Lord's Supper on the Lord's Day in the city of Jerusalem in front of the tomb where Jesus was laid. 

I grew up in Oklahoma doing a lot of small but interesting things. Did a lot of stuff in the exciting Los Angels area and also San Francisco. I have done a little bit of everything in Arizona. I have traveled to many distance and exciting places. I loved Paris.

Bucket list? I don't have one. No ambition? Absolutely not!

I have done and am doing what comes to me in the natural course of events. Yes. I plan some things. I just don't have a list of must dos before I die. I haven't put things to do on a list and I haven't been marking things off in my mind.

If I see tomorrow I will be happy. If I don't--- the Bible tells me I will be even happier.

I'm studying Spanish and teaching myself to play the piano. You would like to do that? Don't put it on a list, just do it. Got too many things on your bucket list? Rapidly approaching the final curtain?
It raises the question of what have you been doing all the time.

Bucket list? I don't have one. But I do have a bucket or two. I have an old bucket I got from Charlotte's Dad. He used it to feed his animals. I poked holes in the bottom and use it for a planter.
And I have a couple of bright orange buckets from Home Depot. The white letters on the side read: Let's Do This.

Good idea. I'm going to cook dinner tonight.  

  

THE SECRET OF LASTING FORGIVENESS

Thursday, June 28, 2018


THE SECRET OF LASTING FORGIVENESS
How To Find Peace By Forgiving Others And Yourself
By Bruce Wilkinson with Mark E. Strong

OVERVIEW: Through the teachings of Jesus, The Secret of Lasting Forgiveness reveals the link between our suffering and our unforgiveness. But it also shows how to forgive—for real and forever. Our Story doesn't have to end with the pain of our wounds. Whatever happened to us happened. But the God who made our hearts has shown a way through the wounds, back to the life and love that we were made for—a path to lasting peace.

AUTHOR: Dr. Bruce Wilkinson is the #1 New York times bestselling author of over sixty books, including The Prayer of Jabez. Bruce currently leads Teach Every Nation, a Bible training movement educating church leaders who cannot access or afford traditional academic institutions.
Dr. Mark E.Strong is the lead pastor of Life Change Church in Portland, Oregon, and the author of The Blessing Maker, Church for the Fatherless and The Divine Merger.

MY REVIEW: This book comes with a money back guarantee. But you will not be asking for it. Bruce Wilkinson delivers what he promises. This excellent book will show you how to find the illusive peace you have been searching for.

I like what Katy, a reader said after reading The Secret Of Lasting Forgiveness, "Do I feel differently about forgiveness? YES! I laughed, I cried, I danced, I wrote, I meditated. I stayed on the potter's wheel to let God do more work that had been hidden. A delight, a wonder." She liked it! I didn't laugh. I didn't cry. I didn't dance. But I certainly did meditate and I profited greatly.

The book is divided into two sections. Part one is Our Secret Plan. Part two is Our Path to Peace. There are eleven brief chapters. Each one packed with wonderful truths from the Scriptures that will help lead you to forgiveness and peace. This is a book you should want to read. It is a book you need to read. And I feel after reading it you will want to share it with others.

(I received this book from Zeal Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

FINDING THE LOVE OF JESUS—FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION

Friday, June 15, 2018



FINDING THE LOVE OF JESUS
from Genesis to Revelation
By Elyse Fitzpatrick

OVERVIEW: The Bible is about Jesus and his love for you! Elyse Fitzpatrick reveals how each section of the Bible—the law, history, poetry, the epistles—points to God's eternal love and the good news of redemption through his Son. You'll find yourself drawn to the Bible like never before as you begin to see Jesus on every page. Discussion questions make this a great book for individual or small-group study.

AUTHOR: ELYSE FITZPATRICK is a frequent speaker at churches, retreats, and large conferences such as The Gospel Coalition and True Woman. She has an MA in biblical counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary and has authored twenty-three books on daily living and the Christian life. She lives with her husband in San Diego, California.

MY REVIEW: Amanda Bible Williams said, "Reading this book made me want to read my Bible." I agree. I think after you have read this book you will want to dig into your Bible. From Genesis to Revelation. That's a lot of love. I agree with Susan Hunt, a pastor's wife, who wrote: "Whether you have studied the Bible for years or just begun, Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation will renew your mind and refresh your soul. In her engaging style, Elyse makes deep truths understandable as she teaches us how to see Jesus in all of Scripture."

This splendid book has eight chapters: 1. It's All about Him; 2. Seeing What's Right before You; 3. Finding the Love of Jesus in the Books of Moses; 4. Finding the Love of Jesus in Israel's Stories; 5. Finding the Love of Jesus in His Songs and Sayings; 6. Finding the Love of Jesus in His Prophets; 7. Finding the Love of Jesus in His Law; 8. Finding the Love of Jesus in the gospel. And there is an appendix: Coming to Saving Faith.

This book is written especially for women—but not just for women. I found it to be enlightening, helpful and hard to put down.

(I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

NOT GOD ENOUGH

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

NOT GOD ENOUGH
Why Your Small God Leads
To Big Problems
By J.D. Greear

OVERVIEW: In Not God Enough, J.D. reveals how to discover a God who: *is big enough to handle you questions, doubts, and fears *is a God of wrath and a God of love *is not silent * is worthy of worship *wants to take you from boring to bold in your faith *has a purpose and mission for you on earth *is pursuing you right now.

AUTHOR: J. D. Greear is pastor of the Summit church in Raleigh-Durham North Carolina. Which Outreach Magazine has ranked as one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States. Greear has a PhD in systematic theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of many books, including Gaining by Losing and Jesus Continued. J.D. lives in Raleigh with his wife, Veronica and their four children.

MY REVIEW: David Jeremiah said, "Because J. D. Greear believes great things about God, he has attempted great things for God." I believe this. Greear preaches for a church that has been ranked as one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States. He is the author of many books and this is one of his best. This is a great book. I realize that we are only five months into the year but this is the best book I have read this year.

I agree with Andy Stanley who wrote, "In Not God Enough , J. D. Greear takes on what are perhaps the most weighty and important questions of our day. His insights and anwers are both transformational and transferable. This is more than a book, Not God Enough is a resource you will use for years to come."

I also like what Greg Laurie said, "Too many Christians today are following a tepid, docile, half-baked version of God, who fits comfortably in their preconceived notions and Sunday morning schedules. My friend J. D. Greear has written a new book, Not God Enough, that is must-read for every Christian. it's a call to worship the true God of the Bible—bigger, deeper, and more unpredictable than we can know. I highly recommend it."

Not God Enough has three parts. Part 1. God Is, has 7 chapters. Part 2. God Is Good, has 5 chapters and Part 3. Bold Faith In A Big God also has 5 chapters. Since J. D. is a preacher I assume these chapters are from sermons he preached. Reading this book I found myself thinking, "I sure would liked to have heard these messages. Since I didn't I'm sure glad I found them in this book. They are good. Very good!

( I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

DISCOVER THE POWER OF COMMUNITY

Monday, April 09, 2018


BETTER TOGETHER
By Rusty George

OVERVIEW: It turns out, the people who think they don't need community may need it most of all! In this book, pastor Rusty George—a self-proclaimed introvert by nature—gives you the tools to "do life together," whether that feels natural to you or not. He shares such secrets as how to become more vulnerable, how to draw other people into your everyday life, and how to lean on others in times of need. Together we connect with God better. Together we heal better. Together we overcome fears, raise families, fight temptations, and bless the world better.

AUTHOR: Rusty George is the Lead Pastor of Real Life Church in Valencia, California. Through his 11 years at RLC, the church has grown to over 6,000 people and three campuses. Rusty speaks regularly at conferences across the country, and he lives with his wife and two daughters in Santa Clarita, California.

MY REVIEW: The cover of this books states that it is: Surprising truth for introverts, extroverts, control freaks, free spirits, people persons, curmudgeons and especially, YOU. Well is that true?
I think it is. I agree with Andy Stanley who wrote: "If you really want to go further, faster, go together! Rusty's book Better Together will help you get there." Rusty George is an introvert. I am an introvert. And I agree that his book has surprising truth for introverts. But I'm not sure I agree with everything he says about introverts and how his book will help them. Now, he may be right and I may be wrong and that is why you need to read this splendid book for yourself. And it's not a book just for introverts. It's a book for everybody who wants to live a whole and healthy life.

The book is divided into four sections. Section 1: Help! Everyone Drives Me Crazy; Section 2: Better Together...to Connect with God; Section 3: Better Together...to Overcome Weaknesses; Section 4: Better Together...to Leave a Legacy. Each section has 3 strong chapters loaded with great truth from the Bible and Rusty George's experience and wisdom.

John Ortberg, Senior Pastor and author wrote: "Rusty speaks on one of the most important topics in the world with grace, humor, and insight. Read it deeply, read it twice—but don't read it alone!"

(I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

JESUS the BRIDEGROOM


JESUS the BRIDEGROM
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
By Brant Pitre

OVERVIEW: In Jesus the Bridegroom, Brant Pitre once again taps into the wells of Jewish Scripture and tradition and unlocks the secrets of what is arguably the most well-known symbol of the Christian faith: the cross of Christ. In this thrilling exploration, Pitre shows how the suffering and death of Jesus were far more than a tragic Roman execution. Instead, the Passion of Christ the fulfilment of ancient Jewish prophecies of a wedding, when the God of the universe would wed himself to humankind in an everlasting nuptial covenant.

AUTHOR: Brant Pitre, PH.D., is a professor of sacred Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He is the author of the bestselling book Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the secrets of the Last Supper and The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ. More information about his work can be found at BrantPitre.com.

MY REVIEW: Bishop Robert Barrron used just two words to describe this book, "Simply stunning." Just two words. But they are powerful and true. This is one of the best books I have read this year.
Brant Pitre is an excellent writer but this is not an easy read. I found myself re-reading page after page. Not because it wasn't well written or difficult to understand. I just wanted to be sure I let his important thoughts sink in before moving on.

"When seen in the light of Jewish Scripture and tradition, the life of Christ is nothing less than the greatest love story ever told." I agree with author Scott Hahn, "This book will change you." The book has a reader's guide that contains key Biblical passages and questions for reflection and discussion for every chapter. This is very helpful.

Jesus the Bridegroom will help "transform not only the way we see Jesus and his death, but also how we understand baptism, the Lord's Supper, marriage, virginity, and even the end of the world."

I encourage every Christian to read this book and begin their journey of discovery.

(I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

the ROCK, the ROAD, and the RABBI

Thursday, April 05, 2018


the ROCK, the ROAD, and the RABBI
By Kathie Lee Gifford with Rabbi Jason Sobel

OVERVIEW: In this book you can walk with Kathie Lee on a journey through the spiritual foundations of her faith: THE ROCK (Jesus Christ): Hear directly from Kathie Lee about her life-changing and ever-deepening connection with Jesus, the Lover of her soul. THE ROAD (Israel): Explore dozens of ancient landmarks and historical sites from Israel, the promised land of God's covenant. THE RABBI (God's Word): Go beyond a "Sunday school" approach to the Bible by digging into the original languages and deeper meanings of the Holy Scriptures.

AUTHORS: KATHIE LEE GIFFORD is the three-time Emmy-winning cohost of the fourth hour of TODAY, alongside Hoda Kotb. The Gifford-Kotb hour has been hailed as "appointment television" by Entertainment Weekly and "Today's happy hour" by USA Today. Gifford has authored there New York Times bestselling books. RABBI JASON SOBEL, is a thought leader, spiritual guide, and Jewish follower of Yeshua (Jesus). He is cofounder of Fusion with Rabbi Jason, an organization dedicated to sharing teachings and resources that reveal deeper insights into the Jewish roots of Scripture.

MY REVIEW: KATHIE LEE GIFFORD states on the book cover, "My journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began." She said she has always believed the answer to every question any person will ever ask can be found in the Word of God. I struggle with that belief. I do believe with all of my heart that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God. And I believe that this is a wonderful book that will deepen your faith. Although I have been a preacher of the Scriptures for over fifty years I learned from this book. For example I learned that Jesus may not have been a carpenter. I say, "May not." I think the book states it as a fact. And it may be. And it may be that I have not fully understood what Kathie Lee means when she says she believes the answer to every question any person will ever ask can be found in the Word of God. But putting that aside, this is a excellent book.

I agree with actor, producer, Roma Downey who wrote: "This is one of those unique "if" books that speaks deep into your soul with promise and possibility. Because if you've always wanted to visit the Holy Land, if you want a deeper understanding of the Bible, and if you enjoy great stories from a great storyteller—then this is a perfect book for you."  The book contains 29 brief chapters that after reading you will feel that you have made a journey through the Holy Land and come out knowing Hebrew and Greek.

(I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)